Thursday, August 30, 2018

Let's Do The Twist!

I had an idea for my next Textured Twist project that was demanding to be heard, and I heard it loud and clear.  And then I promptly put it on hold and went in a completely different direction!  The first idea needed some 'stewing' time to work out my idea and get the kinks out of it, so I went on to another idea and frankly...I just needed to explore!

And explore I did!  I was curious if I could make the twists two colors, a different color on each side.  My first attempt I tried sewing two different colors together and pressing at the seam.  It worked, but it was a lot of work and a pain in the butt!  Bear in mind my strips for the twists are only 3/4" wide before folding in half.  

You can imagine how that went and hopefully can understand why I looked for an option to get where I wanted to go without creating more work than needed!


Then it hit me...stripes!  First and foremost they needed to be the right size for cutting.  I looked at my options and only had one.  These Kaffe Fasset woven stripes were exactly what I was hoping and looking for.  They were just about the exact size I needed.

Even so, there was some work to be done.  I started by starching the fabric.  This fabric is thinner than your typical cotton and requires starch to maintain its shape.  Especially if you are cutting skinny strips and then folding them in half.  


The change in color from one side of the twist to the other is not quite as bold as I was hoping for, but it is the effect I was after.   Also, because the fabrics I choose are lighter weight the twists don't stand out (or stand up) as much as I hoped.  I'm on the look out for some regular cotton stripes!

I can't complain!  The idea is there, it just needs a different medium to make it better!  

After making a few blocks the first day, I wasn't exactly thrilled.  The usual 'what the heck was I thinking', 'why'd you waste all that time', 'I need a drink'!!  By the next day I wasn't feeling so bad about them.  They grew on me by the third day and I knew I needed to make more.  

Which I did, but I also made some funky log cabin blocks to add for yet another twist!  

And why not use every single color of Shot Cottons on hand?!  Let's make it fun, bright and crazy! 

Which is exactly what happened!  Color, color, color and more color!

26" x 26"
I had planned on making a small wall hanging and after adding a few rounds of logs...I was sure I would end right then and there.  But I didn't.   


It kept growing.  And growing.  And growing.  I'll tell you it isn't easy to maintain nice perfect straight strips with this fabric.  Starch does help but it doesn't cure the problem.  

45" x 47"
I finally cut myself off from adding more strips...enough already!  Yikes!  It grew from 26" to 45"!  

I started quilting it yesterday and hope to have it finished today.  Hmmm...what did I learn?  Use regular quilting cotton if you want to maintain shape, quit before you take it too far and find some new stripes!

That being said I do love all the color!  And I love the concept!  And I love this quilt!  It may be a wonky funked up mess in the end, but who knows...maybe I can pull it off yet! *SIGH*

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Bee Inspired 2018 :: Spring Terrarium

Here we are again!  I was finally able to sit myself down and get my Bee Inspired blocks finished.  The prompt came out several months ago, but I wasn't able to get going on them until this past weekend.  

Heather @quiltachusetts  requested mini vignettes of neutral greens and hints of spring colors using improv.  The finished blocks would be 10"-14" circles surrounded with cream to off-white.  We could use any circle method such as the 6-minute circle, half circles or drunkards paths.  As long as it made a circle it was all good!

This is the the neutral green and Spring color palette we were shown.  Whats not to love about that?!

I decided to use the 6-minute circle method for my blocks.  It's pretty simple and I've had success with it before.  

I made two different sized circles for variety sake, and tried to make each on different enough from each other. 

This one I made first and as you can see, it has a lot of very small piecing!  I used various shades of purple for the 'hint' of color that emerges with Spring.  


This block reminded me of the Forget-Me-Not flowers I planted from seeds this year.  It's a tiny purple flower that peeks out from the green leaves.  


The second block I tried to keep the improv pieces larger and use a different Spring color.  Yellow seemed logical!  

When I say tried to use larger pieces...I did just that, but it always surprises and amazes me when a teeny tiny piece happens to find it's way in the mix!

I did get the feeling of yellow Lilly's while making this block.  However I think it could be tulips or daffodils or just about any yellow flower!  

Next up on the Bee Inspired train...ME!  Yikes!  It's funny how you can have ideas, but you have no clue what to do!  Stay tuned, wish me luck and let's hope I can live up to my Bee Mates example!

You can check out my previous Bee Inspired posts here:

You can check out all the blocks on Instagram here:  #beeinspired2018

My Bee Mates are amazing! 

Shelby @godshomemovies 
Jayne @twiggyandopal 
Audry @artandstole 
Kathryn @kupitis
Heather @quiltachusetts 
Christine @ccpquilt 
Jenny @pappersaxsten 
Shelagh @stuartmoorestextiles

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Super Star :: Mission Accomplished

It was touch and go at times, but I accomplished what I set out to do!  Make a super sized Evening Star Block surrounded by improv and quilted it the best I could do!

The top was finished at the beginning of August (Super Sized), but I had to work up the courage to quilt it.  So it sat and sat until I gained the mental strength to tackle what I knew would be a tough job to tackle.  I was especially worried about quilting the center of the star.  It needed to have that 'medallion' effect that required free motion quilting, and with it being super sized...well, let's just say I was dreading it!  The rest of the quilt didn't worry me as I knew it would be geometric straight lines.  That I knew I could handle!

48" X 62"
I'm just glad it's finished!!  I can check it off my list and move on!  There is a lot of work that went into this little bugger!  But I know it will be appreciated by the person who requested it and by the person whom it will be gifted to!  Isn't that what makes it all worth it in the end?!  I have to remind myself of that during those times when I get frustrated, but in all honesty...I loved making this quilt!

I do not know how people can do free motion quilting so perfectly beautiful on domestic machines.  Especially with a large quilt.  I try.  And try.  It's just so awkward and cumbersome!  

My thread of choice was Aurifil 50wt in the following colors:  Lobster Red #2265, Neon Orange #1104, Medium Red #5002, Canary #2120, Spring Green #1231, Dark Cobalt #2740, Dark Purple #2545, Jade #4093 and Light Sand #2000.  That's a lot of colors, but needed!

From the back you can see the detail a little bit more.  I added pebble quilting in between the points.  Since we all know real pebbles are never perfect, I nailed perfectly imperfect pebbles!  The medallion center was a bit more complicated and hard.  I used a different thread color and design for each round.  It wasn't easy to quilt or to come up with ideas for quilting.  That's just me though!

All in all...I couldn't be happier with how it came together!  I'm not beating myself up about the quilting at all.  I did me, did my best and that's all I can do!  Perfection in my eyes!  And of course, wash...dry...crinkle helps a tremendously!

The remaining area was filled with geometric lines.  I'd mark a section on a side and replicate it on the remaining sides.  When the sides were filled, I duplicated the top and bottom sections until that was filled up.  As long as the quilting fits with the design, then I'm good!

I have also accumulated a few more quilts to quilt...oh joy!  It wasn't but a couple years ago that I would never ever start a new quilt until the one I was working on was finished.  It motivated me to finish one and it felt like the reward was getting to start a new quilt. These days are different!  Now I have too many ideas!  A blessing or a curse?   

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Free Motion Fantasy Blog Hop + {GIVEAWAY}

I was asked to participate in a Blog Hop featuring a new line of Benartex fabric, 'Free Motion Fantasy' by Amanda Murphy.  Once I saw the fabric designs and colors...I promptly threw my hat in the ring!  

The fabric is a mix of all things we love in free motion quilting.  Swirls, pebbles, paisley and bricks!  From large scale floral and geometric designs it hits all the high notes for me.  One of the best parts of the fabric are the colors.  The fabric comes in four colors: Autumn, Summer, Winter and Spring.  Which basically means there is a favorite color for everyone! 

36" x 49"
My normal inclination has always been to get one of every color and design, but this time I restrained myself!  I wanted to show that I can control myself, so I choose wisely!

1. Paisley Blue, 2. Paisley Lime, 3. Pebbles Teal, 4. Swirl Feather Aqua and 5. Flying Geese White 

Teal, lime and blue...what's not to love?!

This quilt wasn't at all what I had first designed.  At the very last minute I came up with something completely different and I couldn't be happier!

I started by picking a block, which turned out to be the 'Ohio Star' block.  For a star block, this is a good one to have in your back pocket!  It can easily be sized and in this case I needed three different sizes.  I went with 12", 8" and a 6" blocks.

With plenty of stars and color, the bright white back ground lets each one sparkle!  

I'm excited to have a design I can make over and over again, but the best part is I can pick any block as the sizes are the same as the original.

Quilting ideas don't come easy for me, and even though the fabric is called Free Motion Fantasy I still had to go with my favorite geometric/straight line quilting.  

I kept the star theme with the quilting by drawing a partial star starting on one side and having it radiate across the quilt using 1" lines.  The inset portion of the star is quilted with 1/4" lines to create a diamond pattern.   


The White Flying Geese fabric is placed around the center square and in the hour glass blocks.  I know it's hard to see! 

The binding is the Blue Paisley fabric which was so nice to hand stitch to the quilt!  My needle went through the fabric like butter!

I enjoy these challenges!  It let's me explore prints even though they are not my comfort zone!

For more 'Free Motion Fantasy' inspiration be sure to visit the other Sew In Love Blog Hop participants!  I'm pretty sure Laura, Sandra and Lisa will knock your socks off!  


Sandra from MMM Quilts @mmmquilts

Amanda's Virtual Trunk Show

If you made it this far, you most likely would like to know about the fabric giveaway?! 


Benartex has generously donated a fat quarter bundle of 8-10 Free Motion Fantasy prints to giveaway!  To enter the giveaway leave a comment a comment below!  Any comment is fine, but if you want to tell me your favorite quilting design...that would be awesome too!

I'll pick a winner Sunday August 26th using the Random Number Generator, and notify the winner via email.  SO, be sure you include your email address if you are a no reply blog commenter...and please tell your friends too!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Mondrian Blocks :: Pattern Release

My fascination with all things Mondrian got the best of me and a pattern was logically the next step!  If you've tried to make a Mondrian inspired anything, you know how difficult it can be to make all the parts and pieces come together.  Something seemingly simple can be deceivingly difficult!

You can find the pattern in my Craftsy Shop:  MONDRIAN QUILT BLOCK PATTERN

I knew I wanted to make more Mondrian inspired pieces so I created two (2) block patterns that I can revisit over and over. Having a paper pieced pattern that takes the guess work out of the equation has made the process enjoyable, easy and fun!

Included in the pattern:  9" templates, 4" bonus templates, color coded cutting charts, diagrams for piecing sections + blocks, coloring page, and options & ideas!

The pattern requires general paper piecing experience.  


I'd like to thank my testers for their time, patience with me and their invaluable feedback!  I honestly could not have done it without them!

Vicki:  Vicki's Crafts & Quilting.  

Vicki:  Vicki's Crafts & Quilting.  She used a unique color combination!  Love the blue, green and purple fabrics!  Completely different from the primary colors associated with Mondrian. 

Ellyn's Place
Ellyn:  Ellyn's Place. I think I tried her patience!!  Thank you for the encouragement to keep going on this one!

Anja Quilts

Anja:  Anja Quilts.  I kind of roped her into testing...hopefully she will be willing to do it again one day!
If you are interested in this pattern, please check out my Craftsy Shop!


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Topping The Table!

Far be it from me to let a block or seven sit unused for very long!  I mean, if I put hours, days and months into had stitching each and every piece then every block was going to be used in some way or another!

As a refresher, I made a quilt all hand stitched that took me a year.  My Therapy Quilt.  I won't go into detail, but it was most definitely a labor of love.  Once that quilt was finished, I had some extra blocks that I thought would be perfect for a table topper, and perfect for my Mom.  She sat for hours by my side when I started making the blocks so many months ago.  Now she'll be able to see what I was up to, and hopefully it will bring a smile to her face!

The bright solids worked so well with the vibrant Kaffe Fasset prints, and the Kona Pepper and medium grey brings it all together given the shape of this quilt.  If that wasn't enough!  There is nothing like quilting to put things over the top!

I was mesmerized by the back and quilting design that I only took one picture of the front!  I love quilting small quilts!  Because of the size I can get much more detail and not kill myself in the process!

I quilted the center star first using a dark teal thread and from there it was like magic watching the design shine!

It looks complicated, but it really wasn't!  Once I figured out the lines it was easy to go around and around and around the star!   Except for the center star, there were no threads to bury.  It helped that I was able to start at the edge!

One of my favorite parts of the quilting is at the points where the thread meets from all the rounds.  It kind of shines!!  

I just happened to have the perfect Aurifil thread for this project.  I used 50wt in the following colors:  Jade 4093, Light Jade 1148, Medium Lavender 2540, Medium Purple 2545, Dusty Rose 2452, Magenta 2535, Light Emerald 2860, and Light Blue Grey 2610.  

I'm not sure if the colors would have been quite as spectacular on a light fabric.  It makes me curious, perhaps curious enough to try!   

If I could do this kind of quilting on a big quilt I would do it in a heartbeat!   

I'll pop this in the mail next week for my Mom.  I think she'll like it...after all, Mom's have to like their children's art!